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Brendan Allen welcomes grappling battle with Andre Muniz: ‘I think my jiu-jitsu is just as good if not better’

UFC Fight Night: Jotko v Allen Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

They say be careful what you wish for but Brendan Allen couldn’t be much happier with the way his request was granted for a showdown against Andre Muniz.

Just after he locked up a submission win over Krzysztof Jotko this past October, Allen called out Muniz for his next opponent while going as far as saying he would gladly face the Brazilian in his native country when the UFC traveled to South America in January.

According to Allen, Muniz initially balked at the offer to fight him, which is why they didn’t clash at UFC 283 but his wish was still granted with the middleweights now set to face off in the co-main event at UFC Vegas 70 on Saturday.

“It took a little while,” Allen told MMA Fighting. “He didn’t want to fight at first, for whatever the case is. I guess he wanted higher [ranked opponents] but he couldn’t get higher. I don’t really know what was behind it but I know he didn’t accept the fight at first. It took a couple of months. He could have gotten this ass whooping in Brazil a few weeks ago. But I don’t know what happened.

“Who else is there to fight? I don’t know if he doesn’t want to fight someone or they don’t want to fight him but I’m always down to party, especially with enough notice. I know I’m probably the most dangerous opponent he could face, as far as stylistically. I guess we’re going to find out.”

Since arriving in the UFC, Muniz has gone undefeated with five straight wins while working his way into the top 15 rankings at 185 pounds.

Meanwhile, Allen has more overall wins in the octagon but he still hasn’t earned that elusive number next to his name — a frustrating reality that he’s just learned to ignore as he’s moved forward with his career.

“The rankings make zero sense to me whatsoever,” Allen said. “I feel like there should be a set of guidelines if we’re going to have rankings that we should go by but it’s more political than guidelines. It’s favoritism. It’s more of a popularity contest than who is the best fighter.

“It’s super aggravating, at least it was for me when I first came in. At this point in my career, I don’t even care. I still get paid the same either way. I don’t care where I’m at on the card. I don’t care what number is next to my name.”

A win over Muniz would certainly vault Allen into those rankings but his reason behind asking for the fight really came down to the way he felt he could challenge a fighter who’s being called the best grappler in the middleweight division and perhaps a future champion.

That’s exactly the kind of challenge that Allen wanted to seek out because he just hasn’t been afforded that kind of opportunity yet since joining the UFC roster.

Of course, Allen is cognizant that he’s fighting Muniz in MMA rather than a Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition but that’s actually a reminder he believes his opponent needs to have in mind once they meet in the cage.

“I feel like I’m the worst matchup for him,” Allen explained. “Obviously, I know he’s good in the positions he’s good at. His jiu-jitsu is solid. He has a couple of tricky moves that he does but overall I think my jiu-jitsu is just as good if not better, especially in this sport.

“Pure jiu-jitsu is way different from MMA jiu-jitsu. One elbow, one punch, those things change massively. You kind of forget about jiu-jitsu when you’re constantly getting hit with big elbows and you can’t do what you want to do. Those things change massively and I pride myself on those being the best part of my game.”

Allen concedes that Muniz might land a takedown at some point during the fight but that doesn’t frighten him the way it might force some other fighters to shift into panic mode.

Instead, he welcomes the challenge if the fight goes to the ground — and Allen promises that Muniz will be in for a rude awakening if he’s expecting to just wrap up a submission and call it a night.

“I’m not coming to fight his fight,” Allen said. “I’m coming to make him fight my fight. I’m not just going to sit here and let him take me down. I’m not going to let him stay on top. I’m not letting him do anything. If he does get me down, I’m ready to go. I’m ready for all those transitions. I’m ready for those scrambles. I’m ready for whatever he’ll throw at me.

“I’m prepared. I’m coming to make him quit. I think I can make him quit. We’ll see how good he is when he’s got blood running down his face or we’re in those later rounds and I’m still standing there and I’m ready to go. I’m still throwing with speed and I’m still throwing with power and I’m still in his face. We’ll see how he deals with those things.”

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